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A4 EYV – personal reflection

Here I record my own reflections on assignment 4, The Languages of Light, prior to assessment by my tutor.

Technical and visual

I feel that I’ve developed significantly during this part of EYV, not only through the content of part 4, but also through follow-up on the feedback from assignment 3, where I chose street photography. Some of that follow-up is already recorded in my blog but I also will be writing up the valuable lessons learned from studying the work of Garry Winogrand (including a video of him at work) and reading the excellent book On being a photographer by David Hurn (whose work I’ve also looked at) and Bill Jay.

Part 4 itself has helped me explore for the first time low-light photography and flash photography. I’ve read extensively around both areas, with the most important aspects reflected in my blog, including how to use off-camera flash and how to work out exposure readings in low light. I’ve also experimented with remote triggers for my camera, including through wi-fi with an iPhone or iPad, using the Fuji remote app (used during the assignment); and also using a wired connection between my camera and iPhone using Triggertrap’s hardware and app. I’ve enjoyed the technical expansion!

As I’ve become better practiced at using my camera and not having to concentrate so much on technical aspects, I feel that my focus on the subjects I photograph has improved; concentration on observing and framing them in the camera. I am pleased that my images of the apple for this assignment reflect something of this more considered approach and I think makes them more visually engaging for it.

Quality of outcome

For part one, the focus is on the presentation of the learning log, in a coherent structure. I mentioned in my reflection for assignment 3 that this has evolved as I’ve progressed and I’ve had to work at understanding some of the technicalities of WordPress and it’s plugins to achieve the look I wanted for the blog. I have further refined my vision and purpose for the blog. I went through a phase where I was trying to make the blog too many things at once – for example including photo galleries and several pages of different information.

I’ve now stripped the presentation back to its essence of recording my learning from the OCA course work, allowing easy navigation of that course work (without other distracting material), and a clean, simple layout. I’ve also begun to re-evaluate how I use sites like Flickr – it is tricky to find the real value when they seem to be as much about chasing ‘likes’ as photography.

Creativity

My idea of showing an apple as if it is a moon, floating in black space, came from reflection after exercise 4.4, Ex nihilo. I liked the contrast of light and shade on the sphere of the apple, but couldn’t initially imagine how to work that into a worthwhile assignment. The eureka moment came when I was watching the moon one night. I did some further research on the phases of the moon and the concept was cemented. I think my work has benefited through having a very specific objective, ie make an apple look like the moon, rather than some more general objectives in previous assignments, for example walk the streets of Leeds and photograph thing related to commerce which, in retrospect, is too broad.

For me, I felt some creative risk in making a whole assignment from one object in one place, with the only variable being how I used my off-camera flash.

Context

Again, another busy period for my blog, which by now feels like a habit that I can suffer withdrawal symptoms from, if I don’t get my fix due to work and family commitments.

For this assignment specifically, which required new technical skills of me, the two most valuable areas of context were provided by Understanding Flash Photography by Brian Peterson (which still needs to be written up in the blog) , and Tabletop Photography by Cyril Harnischmacher.

As I mentioned in the write-up of the assignment itself, I particularly enjoyed the high contrast and vibrancy of the photos of Chris Steele-Perkins work on Mount Fuji and I have tried to achieve something of that in the post-processing of my apple. However, there have been so many inspirational photographers in this part of the course that I’m sure they’ve all had an effect on how I think about light, whether flash or ambient. I certainly enjoy being the proud owner of a copy of Sally Mann’s Immediate Family amongst my growing collection of photo books!

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